From the initial launch of your enterprise through its various growth phases, you, as founder/owner, will be called on to negotiate with everyone from investors, partners, and suppliers to employees and customers. To become a successful negotiator, you’ll need to be flexible and creative. In addition, you must be well informed about all the issues to be discussed. Don’t miss this research step; your case hinges on it.
Following are some characteristics you’ll need to negotiate a deal and reach a successful conclusion:
- Objective analysis. A good negotiator should be objective in analyzing core issues and focusing on outcomes. The ideal solution is a win-win for both parties.
- Seeking common ground. Successful negotiators look for areas of agreement and familiarize themselves with the other side’s arguments so that they can anticipate and counter them.
- Active listening. Uncover signals that may lead to some give and take by identifying verbal nuances and reading body language.
- Verbal skills. A good negotiator is able to state a case and explain the reasoning behind it. He or she should also be able and prepared to articulate desired outcomes. The ability to speak clearly and effectively is critical.
- Problem-solving ability. Good negotiators are receptive to compromise, comfortable with out-of-the-box thinking, and open to creative solutions.
- Emotional control. It may be the negotiator’s patience, restraint, and ability to stay positive that ultimately determines the outcome of a negotiation.
And don’t forget the intangibles, such as trust, respect, and integrity. These will stand you in good stead during and, maybe more importantly, after negotiations.